Yvette Kopijn, Academic Director
Yvette Kopijn began working with the program in January 2008. In addition to her current role as academic director, she teaches oral history and interviewing workshops. She is an oral historian by profession. Yvette holds a degree in gender and ethnic studies. She is a PhD candidate at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research and is a member of the Amsterdam Research Center for Gender and Sexuality at the University of Amsterdam. Her research focuses on the intersection of gendered survival strategies and constructions of female identity among Javanese-Surinamese women. Specifically, she is examining the influential role that women play in the survival of the Javanese migrant community and how that affects the ways in which they renegotiate their female identity. Yvette expects to defend her dissertation in 2016.
Between 2001 and 2007, Yvette worked with several cultural heritage organizations and conducted different oral history projects, including Haar Geschiedenis ("Her history"), an online collection of life stories of migrant women in the Netherlands that was designed for Aletta Institute for Women’s History. She also worked on Javanen in Diaspora, an online collection of life stories of Javanese-Surinamese people living in Indonesia, Suriname, and the Netherlands. This online collection was designed in collaboration with the Royal Dutch Institute for East-Asian and Caribbean Studies and the Foundation for the Commemoration of Javanese Migration (Stichji).
Yvette comes from a family with diverse sexual and ethnic identities. She was born in Aruba (Dutch Antilles).
Astrid Jehle, Program Assistant and Community Volunteer Experience Coordinator
Astrid Jehle handles many of the administrative and organizational details of the program and assists in the various workshops and excursions. Astrid grew up in a Dutch/German family in the south of the Netherlands. She holds a BA in liberal arts & sciences and an MSc (research) in psychology. She held several teaching positions, from snowboard instructor to research skills lecturer. For a local NGO for LGB rights, she volunteers as an LGBT educator in Dutch high schools. At SIT, she assists with the organizational aspects and implementation of the Netherlands program. She also helps students find interesting Community Volunteer Experiences (CVE).
Bastiaan Franse, Homestay Coordinator
Bastiaan Franse’s task is to find host families who will welcome students into their homes for the program’s time in Amsterdam and to manage all issues related to the homestays. The students check in with the homestay coordinator on a regular basis and the homestay coordinator stays in touch with the host families. Besides working for SIT, Bastiaan works as a social worker with trans* youth and their families, facilitates youth groups for trans* youth, and educates high school students and professionals in education and health care on gender diversity. Bastiaan was on the founding board of Transgender Netwerk Nederland and has been working in youth care since 2001.
Paul Marlisa, Financial Assistant
Paul Marlisa assists with administrative tasks, primarily finances, travel arrangements, and IT/communications. In addition to his work with SIT Netherlands, Paul works as a nurse in the neurologic ward of the AMC, the largest academic hospital in Amsterdam.
Eduard Verbree, Language Instructor
Eduard Verbree is the director of Mercuurtaal, an independent language institute. He is a gifted teacher and tailors the Nederlandse les (Dutch class) to the themes of the SIT program. He also coordinates additional classes and activities on aspects of Dutch culture.
Khadija al Mourabit, Community Volunteer Experience Coordinator
Khadija al Mourabit studied philosophy at the University of Amsterdam, specializing in logic. She is currently finishing her study on the brain and cognition. Khadija has been active on many boards and in many organizations. Currently, she is the president of the student platform Amsterdam United at the University of Amsterdam: a network of students that deal with enhancing diversity and inclusivity within the University of Amsterdam. She is tackling issues concerning ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality, and politics. In 2006, Khadija was part of a UNFPA campaign concerning women and international migration, where she gave a press conference in New York. She has been a guest and panel member at several televised debates. Next to her academic and activist work, Khadija is a poet. She writes in Dutch, Tamazight, and English. She has performed at several poetry and literary festivals, such as the festival Winternachten. As the Community Volunteer Experience (CVE) coordinator at SIT, Khadija guides students in finding CVEs that suit their ISP interests.
Sampling of additional lecturers for this program:
Chandra Frank, Feminist Studies and Activism Module Coordinator
Chandra Frank holds an MPhil in African studies from the University of Cape Town and is currently a PhD candidate at Goldsmiths College in London. Her research focuses on the embodiment of resistance within the black feminist movement in the Netherlands. Together with Sarah Klerks, she runs Gerilja Kurating (G/K), an online magazine that explores the meaning and presence of black visual arts today. For Framed Framed, she is currently working toward an exhibition that critically explores the relationship between South Africa and the Netherlands. The module that she coordinates for SIT focuses on the history of feminism in the Netherlands, with a particular focus on the black feminist movement, transnational feminism, and the shift to material feminism with its focus on the body. Her module includes a field visit to Mama Cash, the world’s oldest women’s fund that supports about 100 women’s rights groups and organizations that are led by women, girls, and trans people.
Laurens Buijs, LGBT Studies and Activism Module Coordinator
Laurens Buijs is a social scientist working at the University of Amsterdam. In his work, he explores the concepts of identity and sexuality with a focus on Dutch culture. In his study of the perpetrators of antigay violence (2009), he argues that dominant conceptualizations of both gay acceptance and homophobia — as “assets” of ethnic, religious or cultural traditions — are inaccurate and contribute to nationalistic myths of a progressive Dutch nation confronted with external intolerant threats. Instead, he proposes to see incidents of violence as “rites of passage,” in which masculinity, societal status, and peer recognition are at stake. Other themes in his work are the rise of the new right-wing anti-Islam parties after 9/11, the development of emancipation movements since the 1960s, and the making of “typically Dutch” policy measures, such as gay marriage, legalization of prostitution, and drugs policies. For SIT, he coordinates the module on LGBT studies and activism, where he discusses LGBT history in Amsterdam, gay marriage rights, LGBT sexual health, gender diversity, and transgender issues.
Marije Janssen, Sexuality Studies and Activism Module Coordinator
Marije Janssen studied at Utrecht University within the fields of gender studies and (new) media and digital culture. In the past nine years, she has been active within the field of gender and sexuality in the Netherlands. As an activist, she focuses on sex worker rights but is also the initiator of different events around sexuality, ranging from underground multidisciplinary festivals to workshops around positive sexual education for professionals. All of her work is rooted in the belief that sexuality is part of our essence as human beings and that it is important to create spaces where sexuality can be safely and openly discussed and explored. In this light, Marije initiated the Get a Room! film series, a bimonthly film and discussion event focusing on all aspects of sexuality (www.get-a-room.nl). After being successful in both Amsterdam and Utrecht, Get a Room! is currently taking place in Rotterdam and Eindhoven. Within SIT, she is responsible for the Sexualities Studies module, where she focuses on sex positivism, sex work, sex education, and feminist pornography. Part of her module is an excursion to the Red Light District in Amsterdam and a visit to Rutgers/WPF in Utrecht, the oldest organization in the Netherlands working on the enhancement of sexual education.
Nancy Jouwe, Gender, Sexuality, and Postcolonial Communities Module Coordinator
Nancy Jouwe studied Women’s Studies and Cultural History at the University of Utrecht and York and is a feminist and a cultural historian. Over the past 21 years, she worked as a manager/managing director of the NGO Mama Cash and cultural organization Kosmopolis. As an activist, Nancy has been involved from the mid-80s onwards with the squatters’ movement, the queer movement, the indigenous peoples’ movement, and the women’s movement, especially in the Asia/Oceania region. Nancy currently works as a curator and researcher at the crossroads of art, cultural heritage, and postcolonial history and is affiliated with the Humanistic University in Utrecht. Within SIT, she is responsible for the module on gender, sexuality, and postcolonial communities, where she focuses on the gendered and racialized history of migrants coming from Netherlands’ former colonies and the instability of postcolonial citizenship. Together with Jennifer Tosh, she takes students on the Amsterdam Black Heritage tour and provides a theory class on intersectionality.
Paul Mepschen, Gender, Sexuality, and Post-Migration Communities Module Coordinator
Paul Mepschen is a social anthropologist working at the University of Amsterdam. His work focuses on populism and the politics of belonging in postcolonial and post-Fordist Europe. Paul is currently working on a PhD concentrating on the culturalization of citizenship and the construction of “autochthony” in the Netherlands. The study takes an ethnographic approach, focusing on a particular neighborhood in Amsterdam, and looks at the intersections of cultural, class, and urban politics and struggles over power and representation. Another focus of Mepschen’s work has been the role of sexuality in the politics of culturalization and in Dutch racism and Islamophobia. He has analyzed the entanglements of “homonormative” representations of gay rights politics with Dutch neo-nationalist populism and anti-Islam discourses. As an activist, Mepschen has been involved in various progressive social movements, including labor and anti-racism activism. He has co-founded the leftist think tank TENK. Within SIT, he is responsible for the module on post-migration communities, in which he discusses multicultural sexual politics, sex education classes and multi-ethnic kids, and the experiences of queer Muslims. His module also includes a meet and greet with Chris Belloni, director of the documentary I Am Gay and Muslim (2012).
Guno Jones, Research Methods and Ethics Module Coordinator
Guno Jones is an interdisciplinary scholar who received his PhD at the VU University in Amsterdam, where he is affiliated with the Faculty of Social Sciences. He held several research positions at the University of Amsterdam and the VU University Amsterdam. As a lecturer, he taught on a variety of subjects at both universities. His main research interests are on citizenship, postcolonial migration and the nation in the Netherlands, Belgium, and the UK; the heritage of World War II; and the heritage of colonialism and slavery in the Netherlands and its former colonies. He participated in many post-doc research projects. Among others, he was a member of the research program The Dynamics of War Heritage, Memory, and Remembrance and was part of the research program Inclusive Thinking: The Policy and Practice of Diversity in the Netherlands in Historical Context. Guno has published many articles and books, including an article on the instability of postcolonial citizenship in the anthology Dutch Racism by Philomena Essed and Isabel Hoving. He also has worked as a manuscript reviewer for the journals Ethnic and Racial Studies and Women's Studies. Within SIT, Guno coordinates the module on Research Methods and Ethics.